Action4Agriculture has a vision for an empowered national network of 1000 diverse youth voices working together to inspire pride in Australian agriculture. But as Lynne Strong says:
“We know can’t do this alone and so we get a huge buzz when we meet organisations and people doing fabulous stuff we can amplify.”
Such was the case when Lynne attended the Heywire/FRRR Grant Winners announcements and met Andrew Viney from arts and social change organisation BIG hART. BIG hART began in Burnie, Tasmania 27 years ago and tells the stories of regional areas across Australia.
“The majority of our work happens in regional and remote communities so we have a natural affinity with communities with strong agricultural connections. Our focus is on increasing the visibility of communities and of the issues which affect them and our model involves long term (3-10 years) projects. Consequently we only have a few projects happening at any given time, such as during the Millennium Drought when we had a project running in the Murray-Darling Basin called Gold.” Andrew says.
Andrew Vinney (left) at the Heywire/FRRR Grant Winners announcements
Another innovative and successful project was the Acoustic Life of Sheds, a music and arts exhibition with a difference – held in five sheds across regional Tasmania and winning the 2018 APRA/AMCOSS AMC Art Music Award for Excellence in a Regional Area.
BIG hART’s latest project is Shed Happens, winner of a Heywire FRRR 2019 Youth Innovation Grant. Shed Happens aims to help people understand what life is really like on Australian farms by engaging directly with farmers on an everyday basis through an online video series. The $9,800 grant will develop digital media and literacy skills through workshops and creation of five films featuring stories of rural youth.
Kassidy Fuller from Bullfinch, WA is part of the Shed Happens Team, along with Alexander Rajagopalan from Bruce Rock, WA, Kurt Richards from Dowerin, WA and Hayden Di Bella from Ingham, QLD.
“Last year was tough for my family, The wheat crop struggled through drought, but I was grateful the sheep were happy, healthy and worth a lot of money. Talk of a ban on live sheep exports changed that. My family rely on exports for our main source of income. I believe Shed Happens could have given my family a voice in that difficult time.” Kassidy Fuller
By building strong relationships on the ground with farmers Shed Happens envisages giving these farmers a voice to the public and, in turn, the opportunity for the public to ask questions directly to those farmers. It is an engagement that sits well with the visions of Picture You in Agriculture.
“If you want to build enduring relationships you have to be prepared to be in it for the long haul, because respectful, trusting and open relationships take time and committment. That’s why we are so successful with The Archibull Prize . Our Young Farming Champions are on the ground working with students in schools for six months at a time. We’re building interpersonal trust and this is what BIG hART does. They are working side by side with the people on the ground and the people on the ground trust them to tell their stories. They’re doing beautiful things for farmers in innovative ways. That’s why I love Shed Happens.” says Lynne .